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Inestabilidad en la vivienda y acoso

LA  OPINION - El año 2021, el segundo año de la pandemia de covid-19, se caracterizó por la inestabilidad en la vivienda y el acoso de arrendadores contra inquilinos.

“Si bien el gobierno ha ayudado a los inquilinos afectados por covid-19 con el pago de hasta 18 meses de renta, el proceso para obtener la ayuda puede tardar meses, y en ese tiempo son víctimas de un acoso terrible por parte del dueño de la vivienda”, dice Lupita González, organizadora comunitaria de la Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), una organización que ayuda y educa a los inquilinos para evitar el desalojo.

Should renters get first dibs in Bay Area real estate deals?

New proposals would shake up Bay Area real estate market

East Bay Times - As the Bay Area grasps for new ways to quell its affordable housing shortage, several cities are considering controversial policies that would give some tenants a shot at buying their homes — a move that’s sharply dividing property owners and renters.

To prevent big-pocketed investors from scooping up homes, raising rents and forcing tenants out, East Palo Alto, San Jose, Oakland and Berkeley are eyeing ordinances that would give renters, nonprofits or the city first dibs on some sales. Known as opportunity to purchase acts, the ordinances have been heralded by tenant rights advocates as a way to give renters a leg up in the overheated housing market. But the idea faces strong opposition from some landlords and real estate groups who argue they represent an unconscionable interference in the rights of property owners.

Affordable Housing Plan Gives Tenants, Cities, Non-Profits First Chance To Buy Bay Area Properties

KPIX - As cities search for ways to keep housing within people’s financial reach, a new tool is being considered that may give tenants and housing advocates more muscle in buying properties. Some landlords say it removes their rights as owners.

For more than two years, the people who live at an apartment complex on 29th Avenue, in Oakland, have been staging a rent strike against their landlord. They’ve held marches and protests and on Friday, they won. The property owner agreed to sell the building to the city’s Community Land Trust to become permanent affordable housing.

“It’s a big win. It’s like a light in the darkness, right now,” said Grabriella Vivas, an organizer for a housing group called the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment.

Rent strikes, protests pay off: Oakland tenants convince landlord to sell building

San Jose Mercury News - After more than two years of protesting, rallying and withholding rent payments, a group of Oakland tenants has scored a major victory in the fight to take control of their building.

The property owner has agreed to sell the 14-unit building on 29th Avenue in Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood for $3.3 million, according to the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, the tenants’ rights group working with the renters. The building will be purchased by the Oakland Community Land Trust — a nonprofit that buys market-rate properties and converts them into affordable housing.

It’s a big milestone for the tenants involved, and it comes as efforts to give renters more control over their homes are picking up speed. Community land trusts are building momentum throughout the Bay Area as a potential way to preserve affordable housing in a market where prices continue to spiral out of control. At the same time, Oakland and other Bay Area cities are eyeing new ordinances that would give tenants the opportunity to buy their buildings before they go on the market.

Tenants take complaints of poor conditions, harassment to Costa Mesa property manager

LA Times - Tenants of an apartment complex in Baldwin Hills traveled to Orange County last week to protest alleged unfair treatment from a Costa Mesa property management company whose staff they claim has harassed residents and threatened to evict them.

A group amassed during a Dec. 9 demonstration outside the Red Hill Avenue regional office of FPI Management, which manages nearly 150,000 units nationwide, including a handful of Orange County properties and the 4063 Nicolet Ave. apartments in Los Angeles.

That’s where residents, primarily people of color, maintain FPI has attempted to evict them from their homes in an effort to raise rents while neglecting to maintain the units.

Push to hold Sacramento’s corporate landlord titan accountable carries into the State Capitol

Constituent support of AB 1199 could be critical in breaking Wall Street’s stranglehold on the region’s rental market

Sacramento News & Review - Last week, housing and poverty advocates descended on the San Francisco offices of Blackstone Group, a controversial real estate player that’s the largest corporate landlord in Sacramento County. Tenants were demanding that Blackstone stop rent-gouging while at the time allegedly deferring heath and safety repairs in many of its California units.

A number of nonprofits are also continuing to fight in Sacramento for the passage of AB 1199, a bill aimed at holding private equity profiteers like Blackstone accountable for their behavior during the 2008 financial collapse – and now during the pandemic.

The recent action at Blackstone’s San Francisco headquarters was one of several protests targeting the company on Dec. 9, including tenants converging on its property management firm in Los Angeles, FPI. Blackstone famously bought-up tens of thousands of homes in the region that were under water on their mortgages during the financial meltdown at the end of the Bush administration, absorbing them into an ever-expanding blob of rental properties on the north state’s map. Numerous houses in Placer and Yolo counties are part of the picture, while Blackstone has also earned the distinction of becoming the largest private property owner in Sacramento County, second only to the county government itself.

'Is He Going to Kick Us to the Street?': A Walnut Creek Mom Fights to Keep Her Apartment Amid Alleged Landlord Harassment

KQED - The past few years have been long and stressful for Dahbia Benakli.

At the end of 2019, she got divorced. With no one to help take care of her two young daughters, she was forced to quit her job as a preschool teacher. Her father helped her buy a car so she could drive for Uber and DoorDash to make rent.

Then the coronavirus pandemic hit, and ride-hailing work dried up. Together with unemployment insurance, Benakli was making just over $2,000 a month — almost half of which she was using to pay the rent for the one-bedroom Walnut Creek apartment she’s lived in for the last 10 years.

San Diego area tenants stage protest against corporate landlord Blackstone

KPBS - A group of mostly low-income tenants and their advocates staged a protest Thursday in Mission Valley to call attention to what they say are predatory practices by the New York-based real estate behemoth Blackstone, which this year paid more than $1 billion for nearly 6,000 San Diego area rental units.

Blackstone tenants who took part in the protest said the company is raising rents and not making good on promises to renovate rundown properties. They are demanding, among other things, that the company not raise rents until California’s COVID state of emergency — which was extended to March 2022 —is lifted and to keep increases at 3% or less thereafter.

“We’re not being respected as tenants, the issues are not being taken care of and the home that was once beautiful that we were living in is now embarrassing, somewhat, to bring family and friends,” said Kathleen, a tenant of a Blackstone-owned apartment complex in La Mesa, who didn’t want to provide her last name for fear of reprisals.